Privacy is a fundamental but wholly qualified right

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The Centre on Wednesday told the SC that privacy was indeed a fundamental right, but a “wholly qualified” one.

This led a nine-judge Constitutional Bench headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar to sum up Attorney General K.K. Venugopal’s submission – Right to Privacy is a fundamental right. But not every aspect of it (privacy) is a fundamental right. It depends on a case-to-case basis. Mr. Venugopal agreed to the court’s interpretation of the government’s stand.

On July 18, the five-judge SC Bench which was to deal with pleas challenging the validity of the Aadhar scheme and the right to privacy attached to it, referred the question whether ‘Right to Privacy’ is a constitutional right to a larger nine-judges Bench of the SC.

The Centre cited the SC judgement of 1954 (M.P. Sharma judgement) and 1962 (Kharak Singh judgement) – where it (the SC) held that the ‘Right to Privacy’ was not a fundamental right –in front of the five-judge Bench of the SC after which the Bench referred the question to a larger nine-judge Bench.

The hearing is to continue on Thursday.

Earlier position of the SC on ‘Right to Privacy’

The SC in various judgements have declared that the Right to Privacy is a part of Article 21 of the Constitution. Article 21 guarantees the fundamental right to life and liberty.

At the same time, the SC in the 1954 M.P. Sharma judgement and the 1962 Kharak Singh judgement have held that the Right to Privacy is not the fundamental right.

It is to correctly interpret the Constitution that the five-judge SC Bench, on July 18, referred the question whether the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right or not to a larger nine-judge bench.


Reference (s):

The Hindu (You can download the newspaper for free from a link given on this FB page – UPSC Aspirants Forum)